New York Film Locations

Bollywood Comes to otsoNY

13 December 2018

It is not too often that a Bollywood production descends upon New York City, but in recent times there has been two films, “Half Girlfriend” and “Pad Man” to have done just that. Previous to this there were two other Bollywood films that used New York as a backdrop. In 2009, a film simply titled “New York” which followed a New York taxi driver called Omar and played by Neil Nitin Mukesh, who was wrongfully arrested for terrorism.

Film: New York

The other film, “London, Paris, New York” was released in 2012, and used locations such as Times Square and the Fulton Ferry Pier near to the Brooklyn Bridge. The film starred Aditi Rao Hydari as a middle class south Indian girl from Chembur on her way to New York to study politics with full scholarship, and Ali Zafar, a Punjabi rich kid from Bandra going to study Filmmaking in London on 100% dad's money. They both decide to hang out together one evening in London and find that they are completely drawn to each other even as their future lies on separate continents. The film follows their personal journey and their love story as they meet in London, Paris and New York for a night each over eight years.

Film: London, Paris, New York

This year saw the release of Pad Man, a biography on Tamil Nadu activist Arunachalam Muruganantham, whose mission was to provide sanitary napkins to poor women of rural areas, who would use rag cloths or leaves during periods where use of sanitary napkins was rare. After he did not get fruitful results from his family and a medical college he approached, he decided to try it himself by making a uterus out of football bladder and filling goat's blood in it. He would roam around the whole day with the bladder, the aim was to check the absorption rate of the sanitary napkins made by him.

Film: Pad Man

The film starred Akshay Kumar, Radhika Apte and Sonam Kapoor, and though it was released outside of India to countries such as Canada, Demark, Norway, Sweden, Japan and even the United Kingdom, the overall Box Office takings were far below that of an American-made film. Nevertheless, Pad Man was praised by the critics with comments such as “Proves quite the entertaining, daresay absorbing, movie” from LA Times, “It's an engrossing and important subject - which was raised by a man who challenged patriarchal taboos with a candour and determination that many men all over the progressive world might shrink from even now.” Said the Guardian Newspaper, and the UK Times said, “Kumar is such an amiable lead, and the feminist credentials of his real-life counterpart so rock-solid, that the movie rises above its limitations.”

Recently released on DVD and available from Netflix, the film has now been included in the Film Location section on otsoNY giving details about the film and the locations used in New York City, which included the Time Warner Center near Columbus Circle, Times Square and United Nations Headquarters on First Avenue. But it wasn’t the first Bollywood production to be allowed to film inside the UN building. The offices of the UN are usually off-limits to any film production company and in fact, other than the two Bollywood films “Half Girlfriend” and “Pad Man”, there has only ever been one other, “The Interpreter” starring Sean Penn and Nicole Kidman.

Film: Half Girlfriend

This month sees “Half Girlfriend”, an Indian romantic drama Hindi film based on the novel of the same name written by Chetan Bhagat posted on otsoNY. Originally released in 2017, the film was directed by Mohit Suri and featured Arjun Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor in the lead roles. Principal photography commenced in June 2016 and filming locations include Delhi, Mumbai, Patna, Dumraon, Varanasi, New York City and Cape Town. It was the first Bollywood film to be granted access to the UN building in New York.

Film: Half Girlfriend

Film: Half Girlfriend

The film is a coming of age romance between a vernacular Bihari Boy Madhav Jha, played by Arjun Kapoor, who falls in love with an upper class "Delhi High-society" girl, Riya Somani played by Shraddha Kapoor. On the outside, the two of them have little, or nothing in common, but love blossoms in the most unexpected, unconventional way, when Madhav starts to woo Riya. In the latest story from Chetan Bhagat, the film deals with the linguistic struggles between the two young lovers, and most importantly sets out to define the 'grey' area of a relationship today... In a relationship, Not in a relationship? It's complicated? " More than a friend, less than a girlfriend".

Actress Shraddha Kapoor

The film also stars Rhea Chakraborty, who is an Indian Bollywood and Telugu film actress and a Video Jockey on MTV India. Rhea started her television career in 2009 with MTV India's reality show TVS Scooty Teen Diva and was the first runner-up. Later on she gave an audition for a VJ at MTV Delhi and was selected. She has hosted several MTV's shows including Pepsi MTV Wassup, TicTac College Beat and MTV Gone in 60 seconds.

Actress Rhea Chakraborty

In 2012, she made her film career debut with telugu film "Tuneega Tuneega" playing the character, Nidhi.In 2013, she debuted in bollywood with Hindi film "Mere Dad Ki Maruti" as Jasleen.She also played the character of Sonali in Rohan Sippy's film "Sonali Cable".And she is shooting folso signed YRF film "Bank Chor" opposite Vivek Oberoi and Riteish Deshmukh.


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